CS:GO Major Selection Process FAQ

CS:GO Major Selection Process FAQ

Background

Since Fall 2013 the CS:GO Major Championships have expanded in their format, scope and audience, but our goals and selection process have not changed.

In short, our goal is to point the massive CS:GO audience toward an event that we think they’d be excited to watch. In making the decision we act as a proxy for the CS:GO community, and try to choose an event that will:

1) Exceed expectations and innovate.
2) Be scheduled conveniently for a typical CS:GO player to view at home
3) Be freely available on the viewing platforms preferred by the CS:GO audience.

In addition to some basic restrictions on player eligibility and tournament format, the CS:GO team adds the requirement that the tournament organizer be able to incorporate technical support from Valve to ensure that the CS:GO Major can be fully-featured and broadcast in-client.

The Selection Process

When it comes to selecting a Major partner, we start by considering proposals from tournament organizers who have demonstrated the ability to smoothly run large-scale events, and who are likely to execute successfully on their proposal.

Next, we consider the trade-offs presented by each proposal. For example, an event’s location may be inconvenient for online viewership, pose a logistics problem, or present technical hurdles. Or a location may be ideal, but the proposal focuses on the in-person experience to the exclusion of the online viewing experience (or vice versa).

Once we’ve selected the proposals that are making reasonable trade-offs, we evaluate risk. It’s important to us that tournament organizers are willing to take risks and explore new formats, production features, types of venue or staging, etc. That being said, we look for proposals that balance the value created by taking risks with a reasonable backup plan in case those risks don’t work out.

If we’ve narrowed the list down and don’t have a clear winner at this point (which is increasingly common), we’ll evaluate proposals in terms of what the event might teach us that would help guide decisions in the future.

Once we’ve selected a partner and finished all the relevant paperwork, we try to announce the event as quickly as possible.

FAQ

Q: The most recent Major was in [some particular location]. Are you looking for proposals in a different timezone/country/region for the next event?

A: No. As long as the proposed location doesn’t come with a significant risk of local or online viewer inconvenience, or generate substantial logistics problems, we’re willing to consider any location.

The global audience for CS:GO tends to hit its peak at around 14:00 EST, so we prefer proposals that can place the most important match-ups around that time. Note that it’s easier for an online audience to stay up a little late than to wake up early, and arena audiences don’t like to attend as late as online audiences peak viewership, which means that ideal locations are between EST and CET.

Q: All things being equal, is it better to propose an event in a larger venue?

A: Not necessarily – different sizes of venues present their own opportunities, and we’ve had some great Majors in more intimate settings. When we look at proposals, we ask how the organizer intends to use a space in order to create a memorable experience for the audience. As long as the local attendees are having fun and that experience is communicated over the stream, any venue can work.

Q: Is it a problem if other games are featured at the same event as the Major?

A: Not at all, as long as the CS:GO part of the event is competitive with other proposals based on the criteria mentioned above.

Q. During the year I run events that deviate from the rules/guidelines of Valve Sponsored events. Does that reduce my appeal as a partner for the Major Series?

A. Not necessarily. We judge business partners by their customer focus, their ability to work within constraints and identify and execute on goals. Specifically, we pay attention to the relationship between the tournament organizer and the community, because a large part of the work of being a Major partner is keeping the CS:GO community informed of developments, features, upcoming stages of the event, etc. As long as your events are strengthening your relationship with the community, it’s fine if they deviate from the rules or guidelines of a Valve Sponsored event.

Q: Our proposal includes a brand new feature/format/venue. Does that help our chances of being selected?

A: It depends. New features usually add risk to an event (e.g., new technology may not be fully tested, a new format may not provide ideal matchups, etc.). To measure that risk, we look at past events by the organizer. If there aren’t any past events to evaluate, we have to assume the risk is high.

As a practical example, consider the selection of PGL for the Summer 2017 CS:GO Major Championship series. We selected PGL because of the innovation in production described in their proposal, their track record of innovating in that space, and because of their proven success in executing high quality events. Additionally, while PGL’s proposal included many new production features, those features carried low risk because they were not critical to the success of the event itself – if they turned out not to provide as much value as expected, they could be eliminated without disrupting the event.

Q: What can I focus on to make our proposal stand out?

A: For the most part we try not to be prescriptive when we talk to partners about proposals – we’d prefer that tournament organizers help us identify new ways to improve the Majors that we hadn’t considered. That being said, we’d like to see proposals that can reduce the footprint of CS:GO Majors on the annual tournament schedule, and we’d like there to be a stronger narrative arc (e.g., video production, engagement with the community, etc.) from the start of the qualification process to the main event.

Q: What is your timeline for making a decision?

A: Previously, we’d hold off on making a decision until the next Major had come to a close. This had the advantage of allowing the community’s response to a Major to feed back into the next decision. However, the shorter timeline had the downside of limiting preparation time for partners and teams, which increasingly became a point of feedback from the community. Moving forward, our plan is to select Major partners one event in advance.

Q: I heard that you made a decision about the Major already, but you haven’t made a public announcement. Will you tell me who you selected?

A: No.